What happens when you ease parking requirements for new housing

This article is relevant for San Antonio as the IDZ Task Force and Council will soon make a decision on whether or not to require parking with IDZ zoning. Parking waivers incentivize more housing units, better infill development, and more walkable places. Reduced parkign requirements also make units more affordable.

Back in mid-2015, Minneapolis changed its zoning code to allow residential projects near transit to be built with less off-street parking. Before the change, housing projects outside of downtown and the University district required one parking space for each housing unit. After the change, projects near transit with 50 or fewer units had their parking requirement reduced to zero, and projects with more than 50 units had it cut in half to one parking space for every two units. 

The results over the years - as the parking spaces were reduced, the number of housing units built increased. Housing developments with more parking (surface or underground) were more pricey than housing developments with reduced parking.

What Happens When You Ease Parking Requirements for New Housing

These projects had a similar formula. They were large, at least half a block with hundreds of units in each. They also had lots of parking spaces in extensive structured ramps, with a couple notably ugly parking podiums in downtown towers, and lots of excavation for underground ramps outside of downtown.